And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Yesterday I shared a little about preparing a Christmas outreach into Senior Living communities in your own town. Today I’ll be presenting some practical suggestions that you can use, or re-configure to fit your own situation. Most importantly is that we try to find ways to carry the love of Christ into facilities that are just beginning to open again. Why shouldn’t Christians be the first ones in the door willing to bringing tidings of comfort and joy. this Christmas?
We need to think about how the same old goals of nursing home ministry can be done in brand new ways. When Sunday services in a nice comfortable chapel at a retirement village where I used to visit were cancelled, one of the residents went to the administration and received permission for us to meet outside at a little park area around a fountain. Someone ran a long extension cord out of a nearby building to power the microphone and while others brought beach chairs to supplement the few park benches, we had available. We printed out flyers to advertise our little gathering and prayed it wouldn’t rain. It was both amazing and wonderful how being outside allowed other residents of the village to see that they had somewhere they could go for fellowship, singing and prayer. Some people wore masks, everyone socially distanced and no one became infected by it. Most of all we discovered that the difficulties encouraged us to work together with everyone and that together we could bring the hope of Christ to our community. One woman did the organizing and scheduling; while two retired pastors took turns moderating our meetings, and I only needed lead the songs.
Eventually we were granted the use of a recreational building where we had air conditioning during our hot Florida summer but the lessons we learned at the fountain were precious and will remain with me forever. We are a family and every family has to work together to find unique solutions in different situations. At another facility, the recreation director eagerly invited us to come sing Christmas carols.
Our Florida solution was to do the caroling around the swimming-pool! Residents from the assisted living building overlooking the pool area could hear the music and as we went on our small group grew in numbers considerably. At the end of our time after we prayed, we turned around to leave and were surprised by one of the staff people with a food-cart serving everyone hot chocolate and ice cream! It reminded me of the scene at the burning bush when God called Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelite people go. As you can imagine Moses was less than thrilled about how that was going to play out and God asked him a simple question,” What is in your hand?” and Moses answered, “A staff.” (See Exodus 3:2). In that same way, as we stand in front of our own burning bush, wishing we could pass through those flames to answer our own call to serve and God is asking each of us; “What is in your hand?” What opportunities do you have? Who can you ask to help? What abilities and talents has God given you? The answer may be something as insignificant as the stick in Moses’ hand, but God is not as concerned about what we have, but in how able He is to use anything and anyone that is given to Him in order to share the love of Christ with others.